On an Island

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On an Island
David Gilmour On An Island.jpg
Studio album by David Gilmour
Released 6 March 2006
Recorded 2001–05
Genre Post-progressive, art rock, baroque pop
Length 51:36
Label EMI (UK)
Columbia Records (US)
"Island Jam" produced by:
  • David Gilmour
David Gilmour chronology
About Face
(1984)About Face1984
On an Island
Live in Gdańsk
(2008)Live in Gdańsk2008
Singles from On an Island
  1. "On an Island"
    Released: 15 February 2006
  2. "Take a Breath"
    Released: 3 March 2006
  3. "Smile"
    Released: 13 June 2006
  4. "This Heaven"
    Released: October 2006
Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
Source Rating
Metacritic 67/100[1]
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 3.5/5 stars[2]
Rolling Stone 2/5 stars[3]
The Guardian 3/5 stars[4]
musicOMH 3/5 stars[5]
Mojo 4/5 stars[6]

On an Island is the third solo album by Pink Floyd member David Gilmour. It was released in the UK on 6 March 2006, Gilmour's 60th birthday, and in the US the following day. It was his first solo album in twenty two years since About Face in 1984 and twelve years since Pink Floyd's 1994 album The Division Bell.


The album features Robert Wyatt, Jools Holland, Georgie Fame, David Crosby, Graham Nash, late Pink Floyd keyboardist Richard Wright, early Pink Floyd member Bob Klose and Pink Floyd session and touring musician Guy Pratt. Chris Thomas and Roxy Music's Phil Manzanera assisted with production. The lyrics were principally written by Gilmour's wife, Polly Samson.


Much of the album was recorded in Gilmour's private studio aboard his houseboat Astoria. The track "Smile" was heard briefly in an unmastered form on the BBC2 show Three Men in a Boat which retraced a trip on the River Thames that passed the houseboat. Other sections were recorded at David's farm in Sussex and Mark Knopfler's British Grove Studios.

Orchestrations on the album were arranged by noted Polish film composer Zbigniew Preisner and conducted by Robert Ziegler. The orchestra was recorded at Abbey Road Studios by Simon Rhodes.[7]


The album also produced two singles; the title track "On an Island" and "Smile", the latter peaking at #72 on the UK Singles Chart.[8] "On an Island" also peaked at #27 on the Billboard Mainstream Rock Tracks chart.[9]

Promo Single edits of "Take a Breath" and "This Heaven" were issued to coincide with the US leg of the tour, while "Smile" was the second single in the UK.

Other releases[edit]

Copies of the album initially purchased from Best Buy in the US contained an exclusive bonus audio CD with the instrumental track "Island Jam" which was subsequently released on the CD single for "Smile" in Europe.

The album was re-released in November 2006 with a bonus DVD of live tracks and other material.

Chart performance[edit]

On an Island entered the UK charts at #1,[8] giving Gilmour his first ever chart-topping album outside of Pink Floyd. It reached #1 on the European Chart, and #2 in Canada, Portugal and Iceland. It has also provided Gilmour with his first US Top 10 album, reaching #6. The album has achieved platinum status in Canada and has sold over 1,000,000 copies worldwide.

Track listing[edit]

All music written by David Gilmour.

No. Title Lyrics Length
1. "Castellorizon" Instrumental 3:54
2. "On an Island" Gilmour, Polly Samson 6:47
3. "The Blue" Samson 5:26
4. "Take a Breath" Samson 5:46
5. "Red Sky at Night" Instrumental 2:51
6. "This Heaven" Gilmour, Samson 4:24
7. "Then I Close My Eyes" Instrumental 5:26
8. "Smile" Samson 4:03
9. "A Pocketful of Stones" Samson 6:17
10. "Where We Start" Gilmour 6:45

Non-album tracks[edit]

"Island Jam"

"Island Jam" (6:33) (not to be confused with "Island Jam 2007") was recorded as the b-side to the "Smile" single. The track was produced by Gilmour.



Gilmour toured the album with Richard Wright, Phil Manzanera and long-time members of the live Pink Floyd band, Guy Pratt and Jon Carin. Steve DiStanislao was brought in as drummer. The shows included the entire On an Island album plus Pink Floyd songs such as "Shine On You Crazy Diamond", "Echoes", "Arnold Layne", "High Hopes", "Wish You Were Here" and "Comfortably Numb" among others. No songs from Gilmour's two previous solo albums were played. The tour is documented on the DVD/Blu-ray Remember That Night and the live album & DVD Live in Gdansk.


Chart (2006) Peak
Canadian Albums Chart 2
Norwegian Albums Chart 1
UK Albums Chart 1
US Billboard 200 6


Region Certification Certified units/Sales
France (SNEP)[10] Gold 50,000*
United Kingdom (BPI)[11] Platinum 300,000^

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone


The song "Castellorizon" received a Grammy Award nomination for best rock instrumental.

The album has achieved platinum status in Canada for shipping 100,000 units.[12]


Preceded by
Corinne Bailey Rae by Corinne Bailey Rae
UK number one album
12–18 March 2006
Succeeded by
Corinne Bailey Rae by Corinne Bailey Rae